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Federal judge could soon hear NIFA wage case

More than 18 months after a state oversight board imposed a wage freeze on Nassau County workers, a federal judge could soon decide whether the tactic was legal.

Summary judgment motions in a lawsuit filed by the Civil Service Employees Union are scheduled to be completed by Dec. 21. CSEA attorneys said it will likely be late February, at the earliest, before U.S. Eastern District Court Judge Leonard Wexler reaches a decision in the case.

Union spokesman Ryan Mulholland said he has been informed by CSEA attorneys that the case will likely be decided on summary judgment and without the need for a trial. Summary judgments occur when both parties agree about all material facts and the case is decided on the interpretation of the law.

Nassau Interim Finance Authority general  counsel Jeremy Wise confirmed that summary judgment motions are due in December but otherwise declined to comment.

The union filed suit against the county and NIFA after the state watchdog imposed the wage freeze on March 24, 2011.

CSEA claims the freeze violates the 5th Amendment — protecting abuse of a government authority — and the 14th Amendment's due process clause. The union also alleges the wage freeze violates New York Public Authorities Law and the New York Constitution.

NIFA officials have said they were legally allowed to impose a wage freeze after first declaring a fiscal crisis for Nassau County’s finances.

All five Nassau unions have filed separate lawsuits against NIFA and Nassau County against the freeze.



 

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